The Lion King (UK Tour) Sunderland Review
Show Date: Saturday 1st November 2014
Having had the tickets in a pre-sale before they even went on general sale for The Lion King’s UK tour for the Sunderland Empire. The first time the show has ever been in the North East of England. I booked tickets for the final performance after a 7 week stint on the stage, which is the longest ever at the Sunderland Empire. So having to endure loads of different people already seeing the show and raving about how good it was, really did create more suspense in the wait to see it.
But I am very pleased to say that it was well worth the wait and it is a truly unique and incredible theatre experience. It is bright and colourful with fantastic dancing and music. Not forgetting the many costumes for all of the different animals, it has a very clever set which constantly changes and not forgetting the many different animals and performances throughout. It is funny, sad, heartwarming and everything else you expect it to be having already seen the Disney film it has been adapted from.
It keeps many of the well-known songs along with very well-known lines from the film, but also has its own songs which fit in very well with the story. I can understand why it has been such a big hit over the years and very pleased to say that I have now seen it as for some reason I had never made the effort before. Other shows just seemed to be more appealing.
My favourite performance and character had to be Scar, the be prepared scene was a particular highlight. He is such a good bad guy, but has such a charm that I could not help but like him. I know that is not really what is supposed to happen considering what he does to try to make himself king. But honestly he really takes a brilliant part!
Another highlight has to be the young boy who took on the role of young Simba, I am not actually sure which child it was (having looked at the cast on the website) but he really was such a good dancer, along with being able to belt out the songs as well. Truly looked like he was having the time of his life up on the stage. Also with a fantastic acting ability as well, it really is great seeing such talented young stars in shows like this.
I love how it has so much African spirit in the show and the dancer and music used to really create a unique experience is fantastic to watch unfold over the course of the show. It flows very well and you will never want it to end, but that is the circle of life (had to go there and really link it all together). I also think from a point of view of getting more young people to the theatre this show will be perfect for that.
It must be such a difficult show to perform in and really learn all of the different types of roles, especially with so many different things for the ensemble to complete throughout the show. The different animals and then the different dancing. The stage set up and props must be another thing to really take a lot of managing as well, so many different changes throughout to add more visuals to the story. The cast was all extremely talented as well, the singing and particularly the dancing were incredible from start to finish.
I must also mention the start of the show with Circle of Life and all of the animals coming onto the stage, this really is a very special moment in theatre. Especially the elephant that was my favourite of all the animals. The rows were even shortened at the Sunderland Empire so they could all fit past and make it onto the stage. It even warns you on your ticket that you must be seated 5 minutes before the actual start time, brilliant way to get everyone in I must admit.
So make sure you head out to see The Lion King on its current UK Tour next stop is Manchester where it will be on over Christmas as well!